Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.

Visualizing Tumamoc (Part 2)

by Roseann Hanson, Art and Science Program Coordinator

Learning to see familiar landscapes in new ways stretches our minds and teaches us new things.

Because we can’t reach our studios and workspaces on the Hill, I’ve been working on multiple ways of visualizing and mapping landscapes; see TumamocSketchbook.com a few weeks ago for a 3D cube visualization of Tumamoc.

It’s been surprising what I’ve learned by trying to visualize Tumamoc in new ways: by poring over dozens of images and maps, I’ve delved into hidden gullies and run my minds-eye over rocky outcrops I didn’t know were there. It’s surprisingly intimate, this visual caressing of a landscape.

For this visualization, I chose an aerial view, from the north and several thousand feet above Tumamoc Hill. I wanted to try to show the topography and sense of its place on the Earth. Then, looking directly overhead, I used an old-school “hachure” method to show gradients between contours, and handmade walnut ink that is water soluble, to make the shading (I’ll do a future tutorial on my method for creating an accurate hachure-style map). It’s interesting to compare the two viewscapes side-by-side.

Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.
I worked from an aerial photograph of Tumamoc Hill, looking south.
Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.
Using a mechanical pencil, I sketched the hill and just a few other landscape features, leaving out the city and hills in the background, to maximize the 3D “map” effect.
Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.
When I was happy with the proportions and simple marks to show shapes, I inked over the pencil with waterproof ink (Platinum Carbon Black, an archival quality pigment ink).
Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.
After I erased the pencil lines, I laid a piece of waxed paper over the drawing (wax-side down) and used a dull pencil to trace just the roadway going from the base up to the top—I wanted to reserve a pale margin over the roadway during the final watercolor washes, below.
Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.
Using a damp brush, I first applied yellow ochre and then, when it was mostly dry, a light brushing of red ochre (from (Greenleaf & Blueberry). Note that my brush strokes are in the direction of the slopes, and that I didn’t extend beyond the base of the hill. The drier brush let me feather the color nicely.
Visualizing Tumamoc Hill in a 3D map form.
Finally, using dry brush technique and my own handmade Tucson Mountains purple ochre (pigment collected just west of Tumamoc) and a dark green blended from yellow ochre and Mayan blue, an ancient lake pigment paint made from plants from the genus Indigofera (indigo), I added shading and the suggestion of plants.

I hope you enjoy this virtual look at our Tumamoc, while we are all sheltering in other places and dreaming of walking the Hill of the Horned Lizard.

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